Everything comes around full circle. First we had Joost, Babelgum, Veoh, and others create standalone client software for watching online videos, but the ease and ubiquity of watching directly in the browser trumped whatever technical benefits a standalone client provided. The rise of YouTube, and more recently Hulu, proved that. But now that watching videos on the Web is something many of us spend an increasing amount of time on, the idea of a better viewing experience through a download client may now be making a comeback.
Hulu, in particular, now has an upgraded, if unofficial, desktop app in MyMediaPlayer2. Developed by Paul Yanez, this video player is more of a demonstration app than anything else, but it is still quite functional. MyMediaPlayer2, which was recently released, is an Adobe Air app which features 400 TV shows and 208 movies from Hulu. You start with a grid view, which resizes depending on the size of your screen and the window. The larger you make the window, the more thumbnail TV show icons appear in the grid dynamically. When you click on a show or movie, it then takes over the top half of the screen, with a list of other episodes below with the date, description, run-time, and a thumbnail. There is also a full-screen mode that works with a remote and allows for a ten-foot viewing experience. The app also includes Twitter integration. Now the whole world can know every time you are watching an episode of The Hustler.
But Yanez is not married to the idea of watching videos outside the browser. The app also works natively in Google’s Chrome browser. Simply go to this URL: http://www.paulyanez.com/labs/mymediaplayer2/app/. That link seems to work in Firefox as well. And Yanez even has a version that works inside Microsoft Outlook. I am not sure why yoou’d want to watch videos in Outlook, but you can.
Yanez has bigger ideas about what a media player should do, and has created an overall framework for what a Web media player should be. Many of these ideas are realized in MyMediaPlayer2. Before you go ahead and download the app, though, you should know that it regularly becomes disabled every time Hulu makes a major change to its service. If this happens again, Yanez suggests that you email Hulu CEO Jason Kilar to complain.